Senior son, now seven and a half, is considered to have a speech delay of approximately two and a half years. Because he is also autistic, he has many of the classic impairments that distinguish autistic children from the rest of the population. His ability to tune in to the subtleties of sophisticated communication would appear to be limited to a casual observer. [translation = not so the crazed mother trawling for evidence to the contrary]
He tries to show her his report card from school. [translation = impart the pertinent details, the winning of a prize for ‘adequate’ behaviour]
“Do I get a prize too?” she whines to her brother.
“Yes, but first you gotta do yer chores.” [translation = magnanimous,pragmatic]
“What chores?” Clear evidence of reciprocal exchange where two people communicate with each other.
“Er, um, lemme see now. You gotta tidy yer toys and er, um, what is it, oh yeah, right, clean yer teef and er, um, oh yes, oh yes, put yer perjamas on.” I am stunned to further silence, the right tasks in the right order, and he's telling her! The same little phrase that I repeat daily, that I have repeated on a daily basis for nearly four months to deaf ears! [translation = wrong again, it does eventually penetrate, lodge and take root] I await further news. He continues in his deep baritone, “when yuv chosen yer prize then we can play together.” Her eyebrows knit, “you're askin me to play with you?” The superior tone of a California girl, is fully developed. [translation = no I didn’t think it would ever happen either dear]
“Sure! You gotta problem wiv dat?” he snaps back, with no delay, the appropriate tone and volume, and yes he was looking at her eyes when he spoke. I check that I'm in the right household.
“No. I've not got a problem, you're the one with…..” she peters out just in time, whilst I bite my nails down to the quicks.
“Good, so…..get on wiv it den, yer wastin time! Don cha know it's nearly time fer bed?”
Ref 1] At ages three, four, and five a child’s vocabulary rapidly increases, and he or she begins to master the rules of language. These rules include the rules of phonology (speech sounds), morphology (word formation), syntax (sentence formation), semantics (word and sentence meaning), prosody (intonation and rhythm of speech), and pragmatics (effective use of language).